Dog trained to comfort crime victims at Thurston County courthouse

OLYMPIA, Wash. — A 2-year-old black lab has been specially trained to comfort crime victims at the Thurston County courthouse.

The Olympian newspaper reports Marshal's job is to simply be there for victims, placing his head in their laps and allowing them to pet him.

He's there to provide comfort, and to make the experience a little more bearable for victims of domestic violence and other traumatic crimes who need to speak about their experiences with attorneys.

Marshal was born in Australia, then taken to Hawaii as a puppy, where he started training with Assistance Dogs of Hawaii.

The Prosecutor's Office applied for a dog in November. Assistance Dogs of Hawaii is providing Marshal, who is worth about $40,000, free of cost.

A victim advocate for the prosecutor's office and Marshal's caretaker flew to Hawaii for their training.